Adrian Stenta lauded Adelaide United’s defensive display as they secured their first-ever win in their maiden home match against Melbourne City on Thursday night.
The Reds prevailed 2-1 courtesy of Captain Dylan Holmes’ first goals in the competition in her 35th career game.
Stenta, in his first season as Head Coach, hailed his side’s performance and was pleased with the reaction after the break to press higher up the park and relieve some of the pressure on the defence.
“I thought our defenders did a really good job, especially in the first-half they were under a lot of pressure,” Stenta said following the game.
“City had some pace and got in behind us a fair bit.
“I just think we probably were a little bit too respectful and gave them a little bit too much time and space to face forward and play, and they’re a good side.
“When you give sides that are good time and space they’ll create opportunities, but we hung tough.
“Our defensive performances have improved each week so that’s probably the thing I’m most happy about.”
After guiding Adelaide to a third consecutive win for the first time since January 2017, and their best start to a season after four games, Stenta insisted this team has “no ceiling”.
The Reds provisionally lie in second spot with nine points on the ladder and hope they can continue to consolidate their place in the top-four to secure a maiden finals appearance.
“This team can go as far as they want to go and it’s all there for them and it’s up to them,” he said.
“I’m just really enjoying being part of the ride at the moment, so they’re doing a fantastic job.”
Having not scored in the Westfield W-League before tonight’s clash, Holmes scored an impressive brace with a goal in each half.
The 23-year-old was excellent in all facets of the game with Stenta heaping praise on the skipper.
“She’s extremely important and there’s a reason why she’s our captain,” he stated.
“She does a lot of the dirty work defensively, really tidy on the ball.
“I didn’t actually realise she scored her first two goals for the Club tonight, so I’m really happy for her.”
The key to any team success is predicated on a strong togetherness and camaraderie, and Adelaide appear to have that in abundance.
“It’s something that we’ve really tried to work on and bring to the group,” he said.
“I’m a coach that demands a lot from the players, but I also like to have a good time as well.
“I just want my players to work hard but play with a smile on their face – it’s easier to smile when you’re winning.
“So hopefully we can keep doing that, but we’ve had a really great group of girls here for an extended period of time now and I’m just glad they’re getting the reward for their effort.”
Next match details:
Game date: Friday, 29 January vs Melbourne Victory Women
Westfield W-League 2020/21 – Round 06
Kick-off 6.35pm ACDT
Gates open 5.35pm ACDT
Venue: Marden Sports Complex
Broadcast: FOX Sports
Stream: Kayo Sports, MyFootball Live App